Prematurity Awareness Month: How to Lower the Risks
Did you know that one in every eight babies is born premature each year in the United States? Having a baby born premature (or preterm) means that your baby is born at least three weeks before your baby’s due date. November is Prematurity Awareness month, and although there isn’t a way to completely prevent the risk of premature birth, there are many ways to lower your risk of giving birth prematurely:
- Quit smoking, avoid alcohol and don’t do drugs.
- Have medical checkups before pregnancy.
- Get prenatal care as soon as you think you may be pregnant, and keep getting prenatal care throughout your pregnancy.
- Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the following things:
- How to handle diseases such as diabetes before, while, and after your pregnancy.
- Creating and sticking to a healthy diet along with taking the right prenatal vitamins (side note: 400 micrograms of folic acid is important to take daily before and during early pregnancy).
- What the warning signs and symptoms of preterm labor are that will need medical attention as well as any other pregnancy concerns.
- If you have had a preterm birth before, ask about the use of 17 alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P).
- Breast milk is the best food for babies, whether or not they’re premature. Be sure to ask about breastfeeding.
If you have any questions about your pregnancy, premature birth, or pregnancy in general, be sure to talk with your doctor or health care provider—or call the Help Me Grow 2-1-1 line, or send Help Me Grow a text at: 302-231-1464. Help Me Grow 2-1-1 will set you up with a specialist to help answer any questions or address any concerns.